Block-rockin’ beats

Ebenhaezer Smal — aka Haezer — plays the kind of music that makes you want to dance. Rough, hard, broken beats. Industrial-punk
electro-dance created on a MacBookPro with a bunch of cool gadgets by a DJ who ‘likes to party”. This is what they meant when they joked that sex could lead to dancing.

Haezer’s sound falls under what he calls the ‘trash electro genre. It’s distinguished by the heavy, distorted basslines that have more of a guitarish sound then a clean synth.” It’s the kind of music that’s hard to sing back to the guy at the CD shop, but sounds just right when you’re in a club — or at a wild party under the stars.

I fell in love with Haezer a little before 1.41am on August 8 at Oppikoppi. I posted it on Twitter: ‘I think I am in love with the DJ.” And, I swear, that never happens to me. I blame it on the dust, the Red Bull and the energy of a slightly scruffy 26-year-old who doesn’t like interviews very much (our entire correspondence is conducted by email, at his request) but loves performing for a crowd.

‘[When I’m playing] I see a wave of energy and the faces right in front,” he says. ‘I try to make eye contact every now and then. It’s like getting a hit of adrenaline straight into your heart when you see the energy in your audience’s eyes. When there’s no energy in the crowd I’m a rubbish DJ. I mix badly and get very uncreative. My DJ set feeds off the audience’s energy. If they have great energy, I have great sets.”

His distinctive sounds — Haezer creates most of his own material and throws in one or two ‘popular rock-song remixes” — have seen the Cape Town-based DJ on student radio station charts across South Africa.

Earlier this year Haezer toured the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Switzerland to promote the release of his single, Who the Fuck Is Haezer?, released through Freakz Me Out Records. This was followed by a tour of Australia, where, during a crowd-surfing incident, Haezer nearly got thrown on top of his laptop — leaping out of the way, and into a step, just in time. ‘I was bruised for a month, but luckily I was a bit drunk when it happened, so I just carried on DJing.”

When he’s not messing with people’s circadian rhythms, Haezer is into Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain. Okay, no: he likes reading Haruki Murakami and Will Elliot, watching Emir Kusturica and David Lynch [he used to be a full-time commercials editor]. ‘I really enjoyed Inception by Christopher Nolan,” he says. ‘Just a pity Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t just ask Michael Caine to fly his kids over to him instead of getting himself trapped in his own dreams.”

Haezer plays with Le Castle Vania at 9pm on August 27 at the Assembly, 61 Harrington Street, Gardens, Cape Town, and at 8pm on August 28 at Dogbox at Hotbox Studios, 1072 Schoeman Street, Hatfield, Pretoria

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Nechama Brodie
Dr Nechama Brodie has worked as a multi-media journalist, editor, producer and publisher for nearly twenty-five years. During this time she has dodged the secret police in Burma, explored tunnels underneath Johannesburg, gotten dusty at rock festivals, and reported on the myth of ‘white genocide’ in South Africa.

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